05/21/2013 7:00 pm
05/21/2013 9:00 pm
A riveting collection of thirty-eight narratives by American soldiers serving in Afghanistan, Outside the Wire offers a powerful evocation of everyday life in a war zone. Christine Dumaine Leche--a writing instructor who left her home and family to teach at Bagram Air base and a forward operating base near the volatile Afghan-Pakistani border--encouraged these deeply personal reflections, which demonstrate the power of writing to battle the most traumatic of experiences.
The soldiers whose words fill this book often met for class with Leche under extreme circumstances and in challenging conditions, some having just returned from dangerous combat missions, others having spent the day in firefights, endured hours in the bitter cold of an open guard tower, or suffered a difficult phone conversation with a spouse back home. Some choose to record momentous events from childhood or civilian life--events that motivated them to join the military or that haunt them as adults. Others capture the immediacy of the battlefield and the emotional and psychological explosions that followed. These soldiers write through the senses and from the soul, grappling with the impact of moral complexity, fear, homesickness, boredom, and despair.
We each, writes Leche, require witnesses to the narratives of our lives. Outside the Wirecreates that opportunity for us as readers to bear witness to the men and women who carry the weight of war for us all.
"Outside The Wire is a testimony of the most important kind. If there are any truths to be learned from our long wars, they may well be found in these pages. A powerful, and powerfully necessary, collection."--Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds
"Outside The Wire gives voice to soldiers who so often go mute and who so often retreat into isolation and despair, unable or unwilling to attach language to personal experience. The narratives and anecdotes collected in this wonderful volume are as varied and as unpredictable and as idiosyncratic as humanity itself. In this collection, the reader will encounter anger, grief, laughter, loneliness, joy, terror, bitterness, redemption, hope, and cynicism. I was spellbound."--Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried and Going After Cacciato